Grizzlies-Thunder Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a chance to enter the All-Star break a season-high three games over .500 but standing in their way are the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies will try to head into the break with a 15th win in 17 games Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder (27-25), who started the season 3-12, haven't been three games over the break-even mark since finishing last season at 59-23. They beat Denver 124-114 on Monday for a fourth win in five games and have the league's eighth-best record since Nov. 23 at 24-14.

"We have to keep our heads up, keep working, keep getting better and know that it's a marathon," forward Kevin Durant told the team's official website.

The Thunder were 22-20 on Jan. 21 then lost four of five, ending that stretch with an 85-74 defeat in Memphis on Jan. 31.

Durant scored 40 points - his second-most this season - Monday while matching a career high with seven 3-pointers. Russell Westbrook is averaging 34.5 points in his last four games.

Mitch McGary contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds for a second straight double-double in only his fourth game of an injury-plagued rookie season.

Durant was held to 14 points in last month's loss at Memphis and Westbrook had 15. Both players missed 11 of 16 shots as Oklahoma City recorded its second-lowest point total of the season while shooting 34.6 percent.

The Thunder, one game behind eighth-place Phoenix in the Western Conference, shot 46.8 percent and went 12 of 25 from 3-point range against the Grizzlies on Nov. 7. Mike Conley, though, hit a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute of a 91-89 road victory against the team that eliminated Memphis in the opening round of last year's playoffs.

The Grizzlies (39-13), second in the West, are on pace for their first 60-win season in franchise history and can reach 40 at the break with a victory Wednesday. Their success stems from a defense that allows a league-low 95.6 points and is giving up 86.5 over a 10-1 stretch.

The Thunder are averaging 114.8 points on 50.6 percent shooting in five games this month.

Memphis had a season-high five-game road losing streak snapped Friday with a 90-89 loss to last-place Minnesota, but bounced back with a 94-88 win over East-leading Atlanta on Sunday.

The Grizzlies then took a 95-86 win over visiting Brooklyn and former coach Lionel Hollins on Tuesday.

"We've got a chance to get 40 wins. It would be big for us and our momentum," swingman Tony Allen said. "We want to keep that going obviously and just finish the break off right. We know we're going into a hostile environment. That team is thirsty for wins right now."

Memphis outrebounded Oklahoma City 54-47 in the latest meeting with Zach Randolph grabbing 18 - 10 on the offensive glass. The Grizzlies could have an advantage on the boards again with Thunder starting center Steven Adams expected to miss at least three weeks after undergoing hand surgery Monday.

Oklahoma City got center Kendrick Perkins back from a one-game suspension Monday. He was penalized for making head-to-head contact with New Orleans' Tyreke Evans in a 116-113 home loss Friday.

Oklahoma City has won eight of nine on its own floor, but has lost in three of the last four visits from Memphis, including the postseason.

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